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The Supply Chain Planning list mostly stays the same, with enterprise companies taking the top slots. But according to Lora Cecere, partner, Altimeter Group, innovation in this category is coming primarily from niche solutions: “Ignore these solutions and companies will miss great opportunities.” Here, the supply chain expert comments on investment strategies and trends in this important category.
CGT: As the economy improves, has activity in this market picked up again?
Cecere: The short answer is “no”. Companies are stabilizing current investments and are frustrated by the lack of capabilities in market solutions. The industry is at an impasse. As a result, in a recent survey of 53 supply chain leaders, 90 percent of companies stated that supply chain is growing in importance, but that spending is declining. 
CGT: What trends will impact the CG industry? Which ones are worth exploring?
Cecere: Data is growing exponentially. Power is shifting in the supply chain to the digital consumer. The supply chain has never mattered more. The biggest changes are happening through better math: deeper optimization to guide decision making, sensing of variability and pattern recognition in downstream data, artificial intelligence in alerting, and reading of unstructured text for improved sense and respond. Business Intelligence technologies are becoming the new supply chain backbone and collaborative technologies will redefine business-to-business relationships. Software-as-a-Service is becoming more accepted and easier to use.

CGT: Which trends can CG companies consider to be hype?
Cecere: The biggest hype lies with conventional paradigms. Companies need to come to grips with four realities: The extended ERP platform is not sufficient to drive supply chain excellence; B2B integration is not as easy as connecting one ERP system to another; traditional supply chain approaches manage supply, but do not manage demand well; and the requirements are too complex to have one throat to choke.
Customer Experience: Terra Technology
“Unilever rolled out Terra Technology’s Demand Sensing and Multi-Enterprise Inventory Optimization solutions across its Top 20 markets based on the successful implementation in North America that yielded significant savings in inventory.”
— Gary Calveley, Group VP of Customer Service Excellence, Unilever
SMB Market:  SAP
“SAP … has helped us to be more efficient in our supply chain and more accurate in our forecasting by fostering an environment that gets us to one consensus demand plan.”
— Jamie Bragg, VP, Planning and Logistics, Under Armour Inc.
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